15 Crucial Travel Tips From A Seasoned Globetrotter

It is a common assumption that the best way to execute a successful trip — either for business or pleasure — is to focus on logistics.

Did you find a centrally located hotel? Did you get the seat next to your travel buddy on the flight? Did you leave yourself enough time to go to CVS and harass the pharmacist until they give you an advance on your birth control?

I’ve backpacked through Europe, lived in the Netherlands, and partied my way through most Mediterranean countries; during that time, I found that while logistics are important, they have very little to do with the One True Key to A Successful Trip. What is the One True Key? I’m so glad you asked.


Ready? Here it is:

Get all of your bad luck out of the way up front.

When it comes to long trips, no matter how hard you try, something will happen to throw off your perfectly planned itinerary or generally fuck up your day. Bad Luck doesn’t give a flying monkey’s patoot that you wanted to spend two days in Cannes on your way to Florence. It will make your fancy European train overheat. The next thing you know, you’re staying at the Euro trash version of Motel 6 thirty miles away from your gleaming costal destination being eyed up by an abnormally hairy Frenchman.

These situations are unavoidable (sorry). BUT HAVE HOPE, MY DEAR READER! While you can’t outrun Bad Luck, you can outsmart it. You must trick Bad Luck into exhausting itself within the first 24 hours of your adventure.

If done properly, you can get the inevitable nonsense out of the way early, enabling you to look back at your overall excursion as a great success. I have found this to be unwaveringly true after a series of painstakingly detailed scientific experiments.*

Let me put it this way…

If on the morning of your trip to Greece your flight is canceled, your new flight delayed four hours, and your connecting flight is filled to the brim with crying children and adults with IBS, the next three weeks are a guaranteed success. You will dance with beautiful nude Greek people on breathtaking beaches. You shall sip fancy coffee in flower festooned alleyways with not a care in the world.

Alternatively, if your flight departs early, you get bumped up to a seat with extra leg room, and your bag is the first one dropped onto the baggage carousel in Athens, you are absolutely screwed. You’re going to get food poisoning on day two, the clap on day five, and the airline will lose your bag on your return flight. Of these things you can be sure.

So how do you set yourself up for success? Or, well, early failure and consequent phoenix-like rise to a successful, drama free trip. Well…

How To Set Yourself up for Early Failure and Consequent Phoenix-Like Rise to A Successful, Drama-Free Trip:

Two words: tempt fate. Fate has absolutely no self-control. It’s a fat toddler entrusted with a birthday cake.

The following is a list of tried and true actions that have allowed myself and my travel companions to quickly and efficiently exhaust Bad Luck:

  1. Don’t start packing until the day you leave. Wait until you have an hour to get to the airport then start throwing things into your bag at random. For best results, be drunk.
  2. Grab some gas station nachos on your way to the airport. You went for a walk yesterday. Treat yourself.
  3. Don’t sit in the same aisle as anyone you know thus increasing your chances of sitting next to a screaming child, gargantuan adult, and/or vocal bigot by 73%.
  4. Choose a seat in the emergency exit row. Go out of your way to avoid learning the emergency exit procedure.
  5. Be really rude to the person checking your bag. If you’re not one for confrontation or pulling the “difficult customer” card, just make an offhand comment about their mother. It’s a classic for a reason.
  6. Fly cheap. Go for the airline most likely to give you expired food on a sixteen hour flight.
  7. Be very cavalier with your passport placement.
  8. Be very cavalier with your phone placement.
  9. If you happen to be taking a child with you, be very cavalier with stroller placement.
  10. In the same vein, leave your child leash at home. Let your toddler run free and wild as God intended.
  11. Will you be traveling with someone who gets angry when intoxicated? Get them so drunk the night before the trip that they are still wasted by the time you get to security. Nothing says “hour long strip search” like calling your TSA agent racist.
  12. Take a nap at your gate pre-flight. Leave your valuables out in the open and whatever you do, don’t set an alarm for your boarding time.
  13. Check everything you own. Your laptop, wallet, extra cash, glasses, chargers — all of it. That way, when the airline loses your things, it isn’t just flip flops and your new bathing suit; you’ve now lost everything you need to be the functioning human being you’ve worked so hard become.
  14. Travel by bus. Mega, Bolt, Grey Hound — it doesn’t matter. It’s going to be horrible.

By doing 2–3 of these things you are setting yourself up for long-term success. Mix and match! Have some fun with your self sabotage.

I’m sure many readers will disagree with my rather unorthodox methods and shall, as a result, totally ignore my advice. That’s fine — I’m well aware that I sound like a raving masochist. However, I want you to think of me when you’re in the midst of your next idillic island vacation and you suddenly develop a violent shellfish allergy.

Know that I will sense your dismay and take great pleasure in being correct at your expense. A slow, terrifying smile will creep across my face and I will burst into fits of maniacal laughter as lighting crashes down around me and I revel in my cosmic power of being forever-right.

Happy travels, everyone.

* By “painstakingly detailed scientific experiments” I mean “undocumented, groggily recollected past trips”